Monday, 15 November 2010

"technology can't be used in this way"

i've been a fan of principal youth court judge andrew becroft for quite some time. it's mostly because he has a lot of sensible things to say about youth justice. and also because of his support for the now-scrapped te hurihunga youth justice unit in hamilton.

so this judgement is exactly what i'd expect from him:

A jilted lover has made legal history by being jailed for posting a photograph of his ex-girlfriend naked for millions of Facebook users to see....

[Joshua] Ashby posted the photo in an "irresponsible drunken jealous rage" after the breakup of their five-month relationship, the judge said.

It is believed to be the first time someone has been sentenced for a crime committed using social media under the seldom-used morality and decency section of the Crimes Act.

Ashby's parents, Michael and Lisa, hope the jail term will deter others from the "dark side" of Facebook.

The Island Bay painter was jailed for four months after pleading guilty to a charge of distributing indecent matter and six others of threatening to kill, wilful damage, theft of the woman's clothes, and assault.

He had included in text messages to her on July 23: "I'm going to kill you" and "Dead bitch". He then posted a photograph he had of her naked in front of a mirror to her Facebook page. Initially, 218 of her friends had access to it, but Ashby then made it publicly available and changed her password. Her friends saw the photo and texted her to tell her.

Judge Becroft said he was adapting an old print law for the internet age. "Technology can't be used in this way," he warned. "You would do incalculable damage to someone's reputation."

i'm really glad that the act of posting the picture was taken seriously, with a charge being laid and the offender being convicted. given the media reaction last year to lara bingle having her photograph sent around the traps by an ex-boyfriend, well this is quite a refreshing change. unlike in that instance, the judge puts the blame squarely where it belongs. no excuses, no victim-blaming, just a straight-out statement of how wrong this behaviour is.

no doubt the fact that he indulged in other abusive behaviours was a factor in the judgement. one would hope that any case of a nude photo being distributed without consent would be treated just as seriously.


stargazer said...

derek jones, i'm very tempted to delete your comment, because you're linking to a book that encourages stalking and harassment of women. that stuff is totally not ok, and if anyone chooses to follow the advice offered at that link, i hope they get prosecuted to the max.

Trouble said...

Just delete, it's linkwhoring, not a real comment. Leaving it there gives his site a better google ranking, and drawing attention to it might get him more hits.

Boganette said...

I'd delete that comment.

I'm pleased with the outcome of that case. It was good to see no victim-blaming comments for once.

stargazer said...

ok, deleted - i certainly don't want to be responsible for promoting that crap!